By: Paul Fritschner ~Staff Writer~
While Major League Baseball began its regular season games this past weekend, the Xavier baseball team continued to chug along with its season.
During the past couple of weeks, the team has gone 3-6 while playing strong at home.
The Musketeers traveled to Columbus on March 22, looking to extend their fourgame winning streak with a victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes. Despite a blitz of a start that saw Xavier jump out to a 5-0 lead, the team could not hold on in the latter portion of the game. Ohio State rallied for 11 runs during the last four innings and staved off a stout Xavier squad.
It was back to the Tri-State later that weekend for three games against crosstown rival Cincinnati. The first two games were played on the Bearcats’ campus and did not go well for the Musketeers as the Saturday afternoon doubleheader went the way of the Bearcats’ by scores of 4-0 and 9-2.
It was a different story the following day when Xavier rebounded for a 6-3 victory over Cincinnati at Hayden Field to keep its perfect home record intact. Brad Kirschner pitched five solid innings before turning it over to the bullpen who shut the door on any ideas of a comeback.
Wright State came to town on March 29 and handed Xavier its first home loss of the season by a score of 8-3.
March concluded with a trip to play the No. 12 Kentucky Wildcats. The Musketeers kept it relatively close but could not quite get over the hump, dropping the game 6-2.
Last weekend, an away series against Illinois State produced results that were less consistent than the current weather pattern of the Cincinnati area.
On April Fool’s Day, the Musketeers ran away with a 12-1 victory. The next day it was a 6-5 loss before doing another 180-degree flip for Sunday’s matchup. It was a lopsided victory again for Xavier, this time by a score of 11-5.
Offensively, Xavier has done well this season despite its sub- .500 record. Joe Gellenbeck and Andre Jernigan are tied for the team lead with eight home runs apiece, and they are first and second on the team in runs batted in, respectively.
On the mound, Zac Lowther has thrown 43.0 innings so far and allowed only 14 earned runs, good for a 2.93 ERA and a 3-3 record. Lowther also leads the team with 41 strikeouts.
Next up for the Musketeers is a home series this weekend against Morehead State.